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Official speeches and statements - February 22, 2021

Published on February 22, 2021

1. G7 - COVID-19 - G7 Leaders’ statement (videoconference - February 19, 2021)

We, the leaders of the Group of Seven, met today and resolved to work together to beat COVID-19 and build back better. Drawing on our strengths and values as democratic, open economies and societies, we will work together and with others to make 2021 a turning point for multilateralism and to shape a recovery that promotes the health and prosperity of our people and planet.

We will intensify cooperation on the health response to COVID-19. The dedication of essential workers everywhere represents the best of humanity, while the rapid discovery of vaccines shows the power of human ingenuity. Working with, and together to strengthen, the World Health Organization (WHO), and supporting its leading and coordinating role, we will: accelerate global vaccine development and deployment; work with industry to increase manufacturing capacity, including through voluntary licensing; improve information sharing, such as on sequencing new variants; and, promote transparent and responsible practices, and vaccine confidence. We reaffirm our support for all pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), its COVAX facility, and affordable and equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, reflecting the role of extensive immunization as a global public good. Today, with increased financial commitments of over four billion USD to ACT-A and COVAX, collective G7 support totals seven and a half billion USD. We invite all partners, including the G20 and International Financial Institutions, to join us in increasing support to ACT-A, including to increase developing countries’ access to WHO-approved vaccines through the COVAX facility.

COVID-19 shows that the world needs stronger defenses against future risks to global health security. We will work with the WHO, G20 and others, especially through the Global Health Summit in Rome, to bolster global health and health security architecture for pandemic preparedness, including through health financing and rapid response mechanisms, by strengthening the “One Health" approach and Universal Health Coverage, and exploring the potential value of a global health treaty.

We have provided unprecedented support for our economies over the past year totaling over $6 trillion across the G7. We will continue to support our economies to protect jobs and support a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery. We reaffirm our support to

the most vulnerable countries, our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and our partnership with Africa, including to support a resilient recovery. We will work through the G20 and with the International Financial Institutions to strengthen support for countries’ responses by exploring all available tools, including through full and transparent implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework.

Recovery from COVID-19 must build back better for all. Looking to UNFCCC COP26 and CBD COP15, we will put our global ambitions on climate change and the reversal of biodiversity loss at the center of our plans. We will make progress on mitigation, adaptation and finance in accordance with the Paris Agreement and deliver a green transformation and clean energy transitions that cut emissions and create good jobs on a path to net zero no later than 2050.

We are committed to levelling up our economies so that no geographic region or person, irrespective of gender or ethnicity, is left behind. We will: champion open economies and societies; promote global economic resilience; harness the digital economy with data free flow with trust; cooperate on a modernized, freer and fairer rules-based multilateral trading system that reflects our values and delivers balanced growth with a reformed World Trade Organization at its center; and, strive to reach a consensus-based solution on international taxation by mid-2021 within the framework of the OECD. With the aim of supporting a fair and mutually beneficial global economic system for all people, we will engage with others, especially G20 countries including large economies such as China. As Leaders, we will consult with each other on collective approaches to address non-market oriented policies and practices, and we will cooperate with others to address important global issues that impact all countries.

We resolve to agree concrete action on these priorities at the G7 Summit in the United Kingdom in June, and we support the commitment of Japan to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in overcoming COVID-19.

2. United Nations - Somalia - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - February 23, 2021)

[translation from French]

Madam President,
Dear colleagues,

I thank today’s speakers for their briefings and their comprehensive presentations.

France is very concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Somalia.

France strongly condemns the violence that has been taking place since 18 February in Mogadishu. These clashes are taking place in a context marked by a political deadlock and a lack of prospects for holding elections. And these elections, which were to lead to the appointment of a new Parliament and a new President by this past 8 February, remain fundamental to the legitimacy of Somali institutions.

France therefore calls on all parties to exercise restraint, as violence carries the risk of clan clashes and plays in favor of terrorist groups. The international community cannot allow the efforts of all in the fight against the Shebab and for the consolidation of the Somali State to be hindered.

Madam President,

It is therefore very important to overcome the current political impasse as soon as possible. In this regard, France takes note of the inter-Somali technical agreement of February 16 on the organization of elections. This is a first step in the right direction. We urge the Somali federal government and the federal Member States to reach a political agreement so that elections can take place without delay, all across the states of the federation and by consensus. The long-term existence of the Somali federation is at stake.

In this regard, I recall the importance of the inclusivity of the electoral process. The full participation of women as voters and candidates must remain a priority, with respect for the 30 percent quota in parliament. We also call for the participation of youth, in accordance with resolution 2535 on the "Youth, Peace and Security" agenda.

These inter-Somali discussions should allow to strengthen the rule of law and consolidate democracy in Somalia, with the support of the United Nations and Special Representative James Swan, whose work I commend. The adoption of the constitutional review is equally crucial for building peace.

Madam President,

France remains very concerned by the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

France expresses its support for the civilian population, whose plight has been firth exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic but also by the extreme weather conditions, be it the locust crisis or the consequences of climate change. It calls for safe and unhindered humanitarian access and condemns, in the strongest possible terms, attacks on humanitarian and health workers as well as obstacles to provision of humanitarian access. These crimes will not remain unpunished. Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights is non-negotiable.

We are also concerned by the increase in violence against children. In this regard, we call for the full implementation of the conclusions of the working group on children in armed conflict adopted last August. We reiterate our concern about the draft law on the protection of children which is currently under consideration. It is not in line with the international and regional legal instruments to which Somalia is a party, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Finally, Madam President, let me recall that 2021 must be the year of security transition, as called for by this Council in resolutions 2520 and 2540.

We take note of the transition plan that has been submitted to this Council by Somalia.

France also welcomes the independent assessment carried out by General dos Santos Cruz and his team. We support his conclusions that AMISOM must gradually hand over security responsibilities to the Somali armed forces.

France calls for a decision to be taken this year on the role and financing of AMISOM. To that end, all parties must engage in a constructive discussion, first and foremost the African Union and its Peace and Security Council, but also Somalia, the troop-contributing countries and Somalia’s financial supporters. In this regard, I recall the commitment of the European Union, which has contributed nearly two billion euros since 2007. It is essential that other countries support this mission financially, especially those with interests in the region. France is, of course, ready to contribute to the success of this discussion.

Thank you Madam President.